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Aus
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Hi Guys

How did you go pro? I ask this because I'm interested to know how many magicians out there have taken a particular path that has lead to your success or failure, and what you would change if you had your chance again to do things right. Also how many of you used business plans to start your way into this profession and how many people went out there winging it.

I have an invested interest in these questions because I'm thinking of starting pro, and looking for the right path to go about it. I have come across a number of articles on the net saying that you must approach this with a business plan, and I'm currently reading a book on how to do that. I have been doing magic for over 12 years now as an amateur doing a few paid small scale shows here and there. However, now I want to move things up a notch and maybe turn full or part time pro.

Magically

Aus
Jon Gallagher
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For me, it was easy. I just flunked 26 out of 43 freshman English students, and my principal suggested I find another line of work.

I started to suppliment my magic income by delivering pizzas, until one day when I told my district manager how stupid she was.

Seems like going pro for me was easy. It's the staying pro that's the hard part.

Now pardon me while I go fix my box of generic macaroni and cheese for dinner.
www.jongallagher.com

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
p.b.jones
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Hi,
I personally worked semi-pro, saved up the equivilent of 2 years day job income and waited until my income from magic was at least 2.5 times my day job for 2 years on the trot. I had a business plan and cash flow forecasts and still do after 12 years pro.

When you consider what to do, remember that there are many types that call themselves full-time pro's. There are those like myself that make a good living, those who make a **** of a lot more than me and then there are many people who have actually retired from their day jobs (early or otherwise) but prefer/like to call themselves full time pro's. People who lose their jobs and are kind of pushed into it, a few of these have what it takes and make good livings, the majority struggle to scrape by a living.

Then there are those whose ego's simply make them want to be full time pro's but actualy they do not have what it takes and they too struggle by refusing to accept a day job, which along with magic earnings would be good for them. Though they still prefer to struggle out of simple pride/stubborness.

I think the best thing is to stay semi-pro until it is almost impossible to lose by switching. But that's up to you.
Phillip
floridamagic
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Aus,
I have been a full time Pro for 13 years now, and if I had to do it all over I would spend more time and money on promo then props. What you send out will get you more work then any prop you can buy.
Erick
Jim Snack
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Aus,

That is quite a question. Eugene Burger once commented that there are "many rooms in the house of magic." Which room do you wish to occupy?

As someone who has been a professional for over two decades I speak from experience.

First, be clear about what you value. There are many possible paths, and it would be a shame to give up something important to you by taking the wrong path.

Do you prefer close-up, stage magic, illusions, mentalism or something else? Your path will depend upon this choice.

What is your vision? Where do you envision going with magic? Be clear about what you want to create for yourself.

I realize you are probably not thinking about these things at this point. Most likely, you are seeking advice about how to get bookings. I know, that was my concern initially too. It wasn't until years later that I began asking the questions above, and really got on track.

For more ideas and to read some free articles, visit my website at http://www.success-in-magic.com/

Good luck.

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
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Eldon
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The only thing I regret is not going pro earlier in my life. If you're sure you are going to do it, then the earlier you do it the better. I make a good living, but I feel that if I had started earlier in my life I would have been more successful.

P.S. I did have a Business Plan.
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2003-06-04 23:16, Jim Snack wrote:
Aus,

That is quite a question. Eugene Burger once commented that there are "many rooms in the house of magic." Which room do you wish to occupy?

As someone who has been a professional for over two decades I speak from experience.

First, be clear about what you value. There are many possible paths, and it would be a shame to give up something important to you by taking the wrong path.

Do you prefer close-up, stage magic, illusions, mentalism or something else? Your path will depend upon this choice.

What is your vision? Where do you envision going with magic? Be clear about what you want to create for yourself.

I realize you are probably not thinking about these things at this point. Most likely, you are seeking advice about how to get bookings. I know, that was my concern initially too. It wasn't until years later that I began asking the questions above, and really got on track.

For more ideas and to read some free articles, visit my website at http://www.success-in-magic.com/

Good luck.

Jim


That is all very good advice. I will follow that link right now!

I have been pro since I was nine. I started at five and did my first paid work four years later, and performed as a magician through high school and university and then expanded my business to a full time profession after graduating.

I would imagine it would be very easy to go from amateur to semi-pro (or part time pro-which sounds much better - "Yeah I'm only half of a professional") Smile but much harder to become full time pro since it takes committment to give up regular income for irregular.
markis
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What is a "typical" annual income for a pro?
I'm not talking DC or Lance, the guy working at Six Flags, Disney, Busch Gardens, etc.

I talked to one magician at Santa's Village briefly after his show and he told me about 150K a year. He said it sounds like a lot, but it mostly goes to travel expense, etc.

Jon G.
I about fell out of my chair after reading the generic macaroni comment. That's the price of fame I guess.
Jim Snack
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Markis,

You ask: "What is a "typical" annual income for a pro?"

That is a difficult question to answer. Whenever I have gotten together with other pros and we start discussing fees, I mentally divide everything I hear in half. Some people tend to inflate their success.

I am willing to wager that most pros hit a ceiling at $125-150K per year gross income, with as much as 50% going for expenses. I know that this is true for the speaking industry, which I am a part of now.

When I was making my full-time living soley from magic my gross income in my best year was in the range mentioned above.

Don't get me wrong, it is possible to make more or less, depending upon the markets you serve, your marketing plan, fee setting strategy, and a host of other business considerations.

Ultimately you will earn whatever you can convince your clients you are worth. And that is true in any business.
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Jon Gallagher
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I was trying to be funny with my post, but actually, it might be a good way to go pro for some people.

For me, it meant that I had to get out there and bust my buns to book shows. I had to put all the marketing techniques I'd learned into use. I had to start asking for those letters of reference.

I'm still not making "a living" at this, but by the time the school year starts up again, I hope to be.

Either that or I'm going to be a lot thinner.
www.jongallagher.com

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
markis
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Thanks for the input guys! Great thread, great site!
Joe M. Turner
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Quote:
On 2003-06-03 20:31, Jon Gallagher wrote:
For me, it was easy. I just flunked 26 out of 43 freshman English students, and my principal suggested I find another line of work.

I started to suppliment my magic income by delivering pizzas...



"Supplement"


Best,
JMT
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
Jon Gallagher
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Yeah, well, that's what those grammar hosts are for.

Wait....

Now I am one.

Oh oh. Smile
www.jongallagher.com

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
Aus
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Some of you have said that you should supplement your magic with another job which, by the way, I think is a great idea. But some said here that they made their jump when the magic side seemed more profitable then the supplement job. The question I have here is would the supplement job stunt the growth of the magic side of things. How do you know, when this starts to happen?
Also if this is happening, what choice do you make?

Magically,

Aus
Stuart Cumberland
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Aus,

Great questions.

You've seen some great advice here.

There is a very simple and amazingly simple to use program called Business Plan Pro. I've used it, and it's excellent. It asks really simple questions, you answer them and Voila(!), you've got a business plan.

It's great because it forces you to think out all the tiny and often easy-to-forget details.

Many years ago I got out of the business and got a "real" job. Eventually I decided to go full time and really make a success of myself.

I picked 6 months as my official start date. Why? Well, it sounded good. Here's what I did:

I crammed my bank account full of as much surplus cash as I could. I had about 6 months of "cushion"... literally, I wouldn't have to make a penny for 6 months and I'd survive fine.

Second, I started marketing like crazy. I mean INSANE. Early in the morning before going to my "job" and late, late at night. Every day, and weekends were nonexistent to me.

I promoted that my "schedule" was completely full until February 1st, but I was taking bookings onwards.

The result?

I quit my job on Friday, and on the Monday started full time. My first month I made $17,000.00.

I certainly don't claim this is the BEST way. But your question asked if I would do it differently. No.

There is no such thing as a "secure" job. I must say that working as a pro full time is the single best business decision I have ever made.

I hope this is inspirational to you (and others), and wish you nothing but success.

Blair

Aus,

I missed your second post about knowing when your supplemental job is stunting your magic business.

I don't know what it is you want to do. Corporate, birthdays... etc.

But the answer is simple, the numbers will tell you.

If you're doing pizza deliveries every night and you're turning down bookings that make you more money, then that's a clue! (No, I'm not trying to be funny).

At some point, you'll see it and be able to make a choice.

Now, there are more important things you need to consider, like lifestyle. There are times when my cashflow is low, but I'm TEN times happier cause I'm not working for someone else. You can't buy that happiness, IMHO.

If you have entreprenurial spirit, you can make money no matter what. I'm best known as a stage hypnotist, but during tough times I've done psychic house parties and made great cash. That's just an example. My point is that I wouldn't deliver pizzas, I'll always come up with a way to profit from performing.

Again, nothing but success to YOU!

Blair

FREE Newsletter For Mentalists And Stage Hypnotists: www.Mental-List.com
Stuart Cumberland
R2
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Please read the salaries thread for some of the realities you will face when you decide to take a leap of faith with your performances.
rr
Andy Wonder
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I was single & broke when I went full time. I lived off my credit card for awhile & lost a bit of weight, but it all worked out well. At one stage I had to do a little bit of work in a call centre telemarketing in the evenings. That was a real wake up call. I don't want to go back inside there again.

Actually the best thing I did for my magic career was get married. When I was single my performing career played 2nd fiddle to my real passion, which was chasing girls. Now I have settled down, my passion is in my career which is what you need if you are going to make decent money.

If I had a nice nest egg for my daily living, 1st I probably would have been lazier. I doubt I would have had the same drive to succeed. If you do have a cash reserve I would almost recommend locking it away in a long term retirement investment then starting broke. It is not the best solution for everyone but sometimes making success a 'must have' & burning some bridges really helps.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Ashkenazi the Pretty Good
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When folks say to put energy into marketing, I think of four things:

culling/buying mailing list
good materials (layout, copy)
initial mailing, followed by an email for those I know
phone call to ask about materials

Besides that, what else is there to do?
------------

We could have been practicing!
magic4u02
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I agree. One must put more energy into marketing and promotion then into new props. Often times it is your promotional material that is the first impression any client will ever have of you.Make sure you put forth the effort to have it designed professionally so that it looks great and matches the brand message you are trying to place in to your marketplace.
Kyle Peron

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kasper777
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I saved up enough money to pay bills for a month and a half and then I just quit my job and started street performing and doing restaurant. That's it.
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